Driver Drinks 2 Cocktails, Runs Red Light, Crashes and Gets Stiff Punishment

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Would you serve 4 years in prison for two drinks?
For Hamid Ahmad Baritz of Laguna Niguel, the price of two Vodka cocktails in January 2010 wasn't just $5 each.

In fact, Baritz is still paying for the drinks 22 months later.

And, worse for him, he'll continue to pay until 2015 thanks to Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue.

A jury found Baritz guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level of .19, running a red light and crashing into two occupied vehicles.

The conduct won him a four-year prison term because he'd been found guilty of drunk driving on two prior occasions.

It could have been worse. Donahue sentenced Baritz to a total of eight years in prison but suspended four of them.

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Nevertheless, Baritz appealed the conviction, claiming that his defense lawyer was incompetent.

But a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana rejected the claim this month and left his punishment intact.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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